Recycling prices and market commentary: 26 April 2019


The plastic PRN/PERN price has reached £180 per tonne this week, as indicative data showed that 2019 compliance was looking more and more unlikely.

While the aluminium PRN/PERN price hit £105 per tonne, this was less to do with compliance and more with current market factors.


More on all of this below.

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Otherwise, in the physical market, it was a very quiet week. With Easter holidays still occurring in both UK and Europe, trading volumes were much lower.

This wasn’t helped by low demand from most markets, including deep sea destinations.

There was a small advantage for Asian exporters, with the pound at $1.29 compared to $1.30 a week ago. Against the euro, it was stable at €1.15.

Recycled plastics

Indicative data for Q1 released on the National Packaging Waste Database suggested that compliance for 2019 was looking increasingly difficult.

Some in the market think it will now take a miracle for the UK to meet its plastic recycling targets for this year, and non-compliance is looking increasingly likely. Nobody is quite sure what will happen if this occurs.

With a potential shortfall of around 30,000 tonnes in Q1 (subject to confirmation) compared to last year, this already means there will be a challenge catching up – especially as 2018 benefited from a massive carry over from 2017.

As a result, the plastic PRN/PERN price jumped up to £180 and could be set to rise further as the year progresses.

Physical material prices haven’t responded to this as yet, due to the quiet market this week, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they did next week.

PET bottles increased on the back of a little more demand.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

Unlike plastics, the indicative data for Q1 from NPWD suggested that there was good supply of material, and therefore the PRN/PERN price eased to £17 per tonne this week.

However, there are fears over Q2 with the market seeming almost ghostly quiet.

Chinese buyers were barely active and if they were, at much lower prices. The OCC price across the board was generally at around £70 this week, although some destinations such as India was lower.

There isn’t much optimism that the market is likely to pick up any time soon. Indeed, it is being suggested that the Chinese tariff on US material might be dropped soon, which would make American material cheaper than it already is. Focus would switch even more towards good quality US OCC.

Mixed is surprisingly gaining a bit of interest from European mills, who continue to like the fact that it is cheap. This meant the price increased slightly this week.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

The aluminium PRN/PERN price jumped up this week on the back of poor indicative data for Q1 from NPWD.

However, this can be largely explained by a major recycler reducing purchasing in the quarter, plus a low physical price for aluminium cans meaning many are holding stocks in anticipation of rising prices.

Industrial metal prices were largely unchanged this week.

Recycling prices

For recycled paper prices, click here

For recycled plastic prices, click here

For recycled metal prices, click here

For recycled glass prices, click here

For PRN/PERN prices, click here

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